Chicken Chiles Rellenos with Tomato Cream Sauce. Chiles Rellenos take on a whole new look and feel in this baked and vegetable stuffed version. Poblano chiles are roasted then stuffed with chicken, mushrooms, spinach, sweet corn and more and drenched in a beautiful tomato cream sauce. Baked as opposed to fried, this is a very special Mexican stuffed pepper recipe with an end result of bold and complex layered flavors.
We’ve been a little on the cooped up side. Snow storm after snow storm … after snow storm. It’s been beautiful, it’s been cold, and it’s been a great time to be in the kitchen. And a perfect time for a Mexican comfort food recipe that’s worth every single minute of its somewhat tinkering and fussy prep.
Chile peppers seem to find their way into most of the recipes I prepare here on The Ranch, and for this Mexican stuffed pepper version, the poblano chile pepper is featured center stage as the reservoir for a fresh combination of ingredients.
When we think of chiles rellenos, what usually comes to mind is a breaded, fried and cheese stuffed Mexican pepper drenched in a red or green chile sauce. A good chiles rellenos recipe prepared this way is worth its weight in gold. But think outside the box and take a look at these chicken stuffed poblano peppers.
How to roast a chile pepper to remove the skin
Rather than breaded and fried, this stuffed chile begins with quick blistering of the pepper either on the stove top or under the oven broiler.
Blackening the skin for easy removal softens the flavor of the chile pepper, bringing out its true earthy smoky flavor. I prefer to toast the chile directly over the gas flame stove top using a pair of tongs to turn. I find this method easier to control that using an oven broiler. Using tongs stove top allows you to manipulate the pepper for more even blistering.
Choose poblano chile peppers that are even in size and not over dented or twisted. Without the nooks and crannies, they’ll blister much easier.
Be careful to not over char the pepper, you want to only blacken the skin and not the flesh. Once the peppers have been toasted, place them under a towel, or in a gallon sized zip lock back to steam. The skin can then be removed easily. When the weather turns warmer, an outdoor grill works great for this also.
Filling for Chicken Rellenos
The filling for this version of Chiles Rellenos is a combination of cooked chicken, sweet corn, mushrooms, fresh spinach and cilantro. A rotisserie chicken works well for this recipe. There’s not a lot of seasoning in the filling, the ingredients are left to shine on their own accord and without over powering the beautiful flavor of the poblano pepper. Only a splash of cider vinegar is added to brighten and heighten the flavors.
How To Make The Tomato Cream Sauce
The tomato cream sauce used for this recipe is simple with pureed good quality canned tomatoes, preferably fire roasted, and cream. With just a bit of cinnamon added to the tomatoes, and a long simmer stove top, this becomes a thick and luscious tomato cream sauce. A sauce in which you’ll savor every bite. Sauteed onions add a bit of sweet texture.
Recipe for Chicken Chiles Rellenos with Tomato Cream Sauce
This recipe took me around two hours from start to finish. If you don’t want to spend that long in the kitchen, every part of this dish can be prepared a day or two ahead. You can refrigerate the sauce, the filling and the chiles separately. Stuff the chiles and then sauce them and bake them just before you’re ready to serve. If all components are cold, bake at 350 degrees 30 – 40 minutes.
I hope you give this baked chicken chiles rellenos recipe a try and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating. And leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a favorite recipe for chicken stuffed poblanos, please let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Poblano Pepper Recipes
- Roasted Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Spicy Mashed Potatoes
- Chile Poblano with Pumpkin Mole
- Chicken and Cheese Soup with Poblano Peppers
- Fried Chicken Sliders with Zesty Poblano Mayo
Looking for a ton of Mexican and Southwestern Recipes, head on over to my Mexican Southwest Recipes category.
Chicken Chiles Rellenos with Tomato Cream Sauce
- 4 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions chopped
- 56 ounces canned tomatoes in juice undrained, good quality
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups mushrooms sliced, flavorful, such as portobello or shiitake
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn fresh or frozen
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken rotisserie chicken works well here
- 1 packed cup fresh spinach sliced
- 1/8 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 8 medium fresh poblano chiles not twisted or deeply indented
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche, or heavy whipping cream
- For the Sauce and Filling Base
- In a medium large (4 quart) saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until starting to brown. About 10 minutes.
- While the onions are cooking puree the undrained tomatoes in a food processor. Working in two batches if necessary.
- When the onions are browned, raise the heat to medium high and add the tomato puree, cinnamon and pepper.
- Stir regularly as the mixture boils briskly, reducing to the consistency of a thick tomato sauce. About 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
- For the Filling
- In a large 10 – 12 inch non-stick skillet heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook stirring often until the edges turn golden. About 5 minutes.
- Stir in half of the tomato mixture, the corn and vinegar and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape on a spoon. About 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken, spinach and cilantro. Taste and season with salt, about 1 teaspoon.
- The Tomato Sauce
- Stir the broth into the remaining tomato sauce. Partially cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. In the meantime prepare the chiles.
- Preparing the chiles
- Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame blistering and blackening on all sides. A pair of tongs work well to turn chiles. Be careful not to char the flesh, only the skin. Place the peppers in a gallon sized baggie, no need to seal, and let them steam for about 10 minutes.
- Rub off the blackened skin, then cut an incision in the side of each one, starting 1/2 inch below the stem to 1/2 inch of the tip. One by one, work your index finger inside each chile and dislodge the seeds clustered below the stem. Quickly rinse the seeds from inside the chiles. Be careful not the rip the opening any wider. Drain cut side down on paper towels.
- Stuffing and baking the chiles
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Fill each chile with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture and reform it into its original shape. Then lay seam side down in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Check the consistency of the tomato sauce. It should be medium thick. If it’s too thick stir in a little water.
- Pour the sauce over the chiles, covering them, then drizzle with the creama, creme fraiche or cream. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cream is beginning to brown. About 20 minutes.